The University of Toronto Varsity Blues thumped the OUA All-Stars 8–2 at the 2012 OUA All-Star Baseball Showcase on Sunday May 20, 2012 at the Rogers Centre.
The Varsity Blues and OUA All-Stars took the mound following the Blue Jays 6–5 loss to the visiting New York Mets. The All-Stars were drawn from the University of Waterloo, Wilfred Laurier University, McMaster University, Brock University, Queen’s University, Guelph University, and the University of Western Ontario. The Western Mustangs had an impressive seven players chosen from the team that the Blues defeated 8–4 last October to secure the OUA Championship.
Blues’ starting pitcher Tyler Wilson had a successful first inning, giving up just one hit — a ground rule double — to Shaun Valeriote of Brock University.
Adam Lentz, of Waterloo, 2011’s Most Valuable Pitcher, started on the mound for the visitors. Unlike the All-Stars, the Blues struck hard in the first inning, scoring six runs off Lentz. The Blues’ runs were scored by Steven Hersch, Jonathan Isaac, Harrison Carmichael, Andrew Mannone, Josh Jakymyc, and Kyle Bowers. RBIs came from Brent Page, Mannone, Bowers, Hersch, and two from Orion Katayama. The All-Stars finally ended the half-hour first inning with two runners left stranded on the bases,.
Strong defence and dominating pitching left the scoreboard static until the sixth inning. While the sound of cracking bats may have subsided, the Blues’ dugout remained full of energy. After U of T’s rally in the first inning, Andrew Bergman and Steve Palladino performed air drums and air guitar to Kiss’s “Rock and Roll All Night” to the pleasure of the Blues fans.
After four and a half quiet innings, Jonathan Sartor and Patrick Jachyra secured two insurance runs for the Blues in the bottom of the sixth. The runs were scored off struggling All-Star pitcher Carlos Cabrero, the lone representative from McMaster University, who walked four batters on the day. Only one of the Blues’ two runs was earned, as Jachyra reached base because of an error by third baseman Paul Lytwynec of Western University, and later scored a run after Cabrero walked U of T’s Hersch.
Strong pitching performances from Wilson, Ryan Donnelly, Martin Sampson-Coburn, Steve Aldino, and Yusuke Oshima, and a solid defensive effort allowed the Blues to keep the All-Stars off the scoreboard until the eighth inning.
In the top of the eighth, OISE student Andrew Bergman came in to pitch for the Blues. Ricky Ferri of Brock was the first batter, and he reached first base on an error by U of T’s second baseman Peter Nash, who struggled to hold onto the ball. Graham Fulton from the University of Western Ontario then hit in two runs by Ferri and Jonathan Brouse of Laurier on a single to left field to deny the Blues the shutout. The Blues responded by turning a double play on Lytwynec to end the inning 8–2.
That remained the final score of the game as Bergman pitched a three up, three down inning to secure the win for the Blues. The Blues ended the game batting out of order to allow Lekas, Donnelley, Jachyra, and P. Mannone each an opportunity to get in one more at-bat. Donnelly — who pitched a shutout inning earlier in the game for the Blues — responded to the rare opportunity to bat with a surprising single to left field to the excitement of U of T’s bench. After Donnelly reached first, Dale Payne was put in as a pinch runner.
The game concluded the 2011/2012 OUA baseball season, and with just four months before the new season begins players and fans are anxiously anticipating a fresh year with reconfigured teams and exciting games.
The Varsity Blues finished the season with a 12–8 record and head coach, Jim Sheppard was honoured with the Coach of the Year Award in his first year coaching the team.